Team Sky’s fleet of vehicles block hotel parking lots and is disrespectful, say some rival Tour de France teams. Its addition of motorhomes, for staff, plus a new kitchen truck pushed the envelope. Manager Marc Madiot of rival team FDJ said that Chris Froome’s team “lacks basic etiquette”.
Sky was one of the last teams to buy a kitchen truck, it debuted it at the Giro d’Italia. At the same time, it rolled out a motorhome for Richie Porte to sleep in. It aimed to minimise the stress and hygiene problems that come with sleeping in different hotel rooms every evening for a three-week Grand Tour. It wanted to continue to use it for Froome in the Tour de France.
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The UCI barred motorhomes and said the cyclists must sleep in organiser-provided hotels, but Sky’s fleet continues to roll ahead in the Tour this month. The kitchen truck remains – Principal David Brailsford invited journalists in for a coffee – and three motorhomes house team staff.
With staff sleeping in the parking lot, Sky’s nine cyclists are able to spread out and have their own hotel rooms instead of sharing two per room as other teams.
The extra vehicles are too much for some, however. In the last few days, teams Europcar and LottoNL-Jumbo complained that they did not have enough space to park their vehicles when sharing hotels with Sky. French paper L’Equipe ran a spread on the issue in Monday’s edition.
“It’s really not easy with all the additional vehicles from team Sky,” LottoNL sports director, Frans Maassen told Het Nieuwsblad newspaper.
“We slept the previous night together in the same Mercure in Lisieux. Sky had three mega-campers. They had them parked long before even one car or truck of ours had arrived. It does not work, of course. “
Madiot told L’Equipe that Sky needs to have “some basic etiquette” when considering motorhomes and trucks.
Video: Team Sky takes you through the fleet of vehicles it used during the 2015 Giro d’Italia
Brailsford was surprised that the problem came up in the press before his fellow general managers approached him about it.
“Lotto arrived at the same time as our guys in the hotel and they had the choice of where to park and everyone agreed that they have that area and we had an area over there. Everyone was happy, ‘Yes, how are you doing, Dave? Everything’s all right?’
“And then you read in the newspaper that they are having a moan,” Brailsford said this afternoon after a press conference with Froome.
“It makes it difficult to work with people like that. I don’t have respect for that, my philosophy is to take the problem to the person, I wouldn’t smile in your face and then talk about it in the press. I don’t have much respect for that really.”
It appears too late now, but with the problems teams are having finding space, the UCI may be forced to introduce a new rule before cycling’s next major tour, the Vuelta a España.
Video: Secrets of the toolbox – Team Sky